Have We Taken Gross Beauty Treatments Far Too Far?

Illustrated by Sandy Ley.
Something interesting came across our desk this morning, courtesy of Lipstick.com. It was news of a new "miracle" anti-aging treatment from HydraFacial called CTFG, which uses fibroblasts from the foreskin of human babies to help resurface your skin and make you glow. Cue roughly 15 minutes of shuddering, mass-forwarding, and epic eye-rolling. Because, yes, this is fully serious, and fully a thing that exists.

On paper, it actually seems pretty logical. The fibroblasts are collected during routine circumcision, so there's nothing inhumane happening. Here's how it works: The live fibroblasts from the foreskin are placed in a tissue culture and left to grow. During that process, they produce antioxidants and human growth factors that are thought to be key for maintaining skin health. In short, you're basically feeding your skin exactly what your body fed it when you were a baby — the closest thing to a fountain of youth that we've ever heard of. Ever seen a toddler with a fine line? Yeah, didn't think so. In fact, Skin Inc. magazine went so far as to call baby foreskin the "gold standard" of producing these types of growth factors. And, to be fair, there are other products on the market that utilize foreskin to create their growth factors, including the TNS line from SkinMedica

That said, the whole "gross treatment to get gorgeous skin" thing is starting to wear on us. We've got women dabbing urine on their faces to clear zits, smearing bird shit for its supposed anti-aging properties, and bathing in hay to get super-soft skin. Then, there's the "vampire facelift," where your own blood is injected into your face to help rejuvenate the tissue's appearance. 

We're not claiming that these bizarre treatments are overtaking the everyday cleansers and serums in popularity, but it is interesting to see this uptick in gross-out beauty. We have to wonder, though: Would these procedures be getting buzz if there wasn't a bit of efficacy to back them up? Or, is this all just a matter of shock value? If it's the latter, should we keep on trying them? Because, at the end of the day, you're still harvesting cells from baby genitals and/or still smudging bird poo on your nose. 

Is there a hard line we should take? What separates the foreskin from the bird shit? The blood injections from the snail mucus? Instead of tossing our cookies, we're tossing this question out to you: Has gross beauty finally gone too far?


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Illustrated by Sandy Ley.
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